Every so often I find something, be it an activity, food, drink, book, or otherwise, that really inspires me. Sometimes I’m inspired to do something in particular, like get creative or write a new article, and other times I am just inspired to continue doing whatever I’m doing with my life, but with a refreshed sense of vitality and enthusiasm.
I thought it would be an interesting idea to share some of my inspirations with you in a ‘monthly favourites’ kind of format, because it’s always interesting to find out what motivates a person to do what they do, and you never know- I might just inspire you too.
A few weeks ago, I discovered flow on a supermarket shelf and I was enchanted; branded as ‘a magazine that takes its time’, it was unlike any other publication that I had come across before. With a focus on creativity and mindfulness, it seemed the perfect match for me.
The articles included were very interesting, and particularly spoke to me because I like to try to live very mindfully. Plus the beautiful illustrations aided my inspiration in creating a set of arty headers for my new website.
Another thing that struck me about flow was a strong sense of entrepreneurial spirit; the magazine is full of creative entrepreneurs doing exactly what they want, they aren’t bothered about what society says about their lives; they found something they were passionate about and made it their priority. At the time of finding the mag, I was in the midst of some difficult decisions about taking my blog to the next level, creating my new website, and how I wanted to brand myself and Aspire to Amble. Reading flow inspired me to take the plunge, stop worrying about what others would think, and just get on with doing my own thing (and doing it passionately.)
English Tea Shop Collection
Speaking of designing the new website for Aspire to Amble, it was a lot more difficult than I thought it would be… It turns out I had to teach myself a lot about custom CSS code, chop and change things around about a thousand times, and just generally have a whole lot of patience and determination. One thing that really got me through was my English Tea Shop ‘Premium Collection of Hand-Picked Teas’ (probably one of the best gifts my mum has ever got me!)
With a medley of nine delightful flavours all individually wrapped in charming little packets, it’s simply impossible to resist. I don’t think I’ve ever drank so much tea in my life! Every time I sat down to rework the site I just had to make myself another cupful.
Although, it is very tough to decide which flavour I’d like to drink next… which is probably a rather lovely problem to have!
Staying Active with Superdad
If you happen to have read any of my articles about my semester in Brazil, you’ll know that I started going running very regularly while I was living there, which was very strange for me because I used to be ever such a sedentary creature.
I was worried that once I returned home my active streak would end and I would transform into a couch potato once again, but I forgot one thing; I have a Superdad!
At the age of 56, my dad is healthier than ever. He is unbelievably active, can run marathons, and is even competing in a Duathlon next month! Once you tell Superdad what you want to do, he will never let you lose the drive for it, so the answer was simple- I just had to tell him that I wanted to stay active once I got home, and he would make sure to motivate me.
And he hasn’t let me down, he got me kitted out with new running trainers and all the best cycling gear- backing down wasn’t an option! Now we regularly run or go for mountain bike rides together, and I’m so happy that we do. Not only do I love having something in common with dad and a chance to spend time with him, I also forgot how inspiring exercise could be.
Bike rides especially help to clear my mind and leave it open to new ideas, plus we cycle through so many lovely places that I’m reminded just how beautiful my hometown can be. Which is one of the reasons why I will be uploading ‘Active Days Out, in and around Staffordshire’ very soon, so watch this space!
*Update: We just completed the Lichfield 10km race together, something I never dreamed I could do…and we are already planning the race!
On the subject of beautiful places in England, my boyfriend recently took me on a birthday trip to one of my favourite places: York.
After a year of adventures in South America, admittedly I was a bit worried that life back in the UK might get a bit boring, but going to York reminded me just how enchanting England can be.
York is so rich in history and culture; we spent our few days there taking boat trips along the river, exploring museums, and walking the old city walls. I was absolutely enamoured by The Shambles, with its little cobbled streets and over-hanging fourteenth century buildings. Upon returning home, I am truly inspired to carry on exploring and writing about the wonders of the UK’s culture: sometimes, just because we’ve lived here for so long, we can forget just how great our country can be.
While in York, I took a trip to a Lush store. It’s been a while since I’ve popped into one and spent some time sniffing each and every item they sell. While looking around I realised just how much I am inspired by their brand, it is so unique! I love the way they display their items, everything is so colourful and enticing- not to mention they have so many testers!
I also picked up a copy of their latest brochure, which has a focus on their ‘naked’ range, and their aims to reduce packaging and waste. I had never thought much before about just how much of what we buy and throw away is unnecessary packaging, and it has inspired me to not only try to recycle more, but to try to cut down on the rubbish I buy in the first place. (And instead of throwing the brochure away, I recycled a lot of it by using many of its colourful pages for my various collages!)
Mum’s Decoration Style
Just as I was motivated by the entrepreneurial spirit of flow, and the unique branding of Lush, it seems I am inspired by people doing their own thing. And if there’s one person that always does her own quirky thing, it’s my mum; from the way she dresses to the way she decorates the house.
It seems lately she has developed a little obsession: maps. We have map themed wallpaper, map curtains, map placemats, map chairs, tablecloths, storage boxes, you name it! Not only does this inspire me because I’ve always found maps captivating (especially when daydreaming about travels) but also because mum doesn’t have a care in the world about what anyone outside may think of her, she just does what makes her happy and that’s that.
So, sitting here in our map-filled conservatory, with a cup of Lemongrass, Ginger & Citrus tea to one side and my issue of flow to the other, I wonder what I will be inspired to do next?
(Please leave a comment if you enjoyed this article, and don’t forget to tell me what has inspired you recently!)